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Old 01-12-2014, 01:49 PM   #1
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Holiday rambler navigator

So I'm not totally new to rv'ing. Had trailers of different fashion since 03'. We have been looking at lots of different coaches for prob the last 4 years. I'm very mechanical(electrician by trade, build off road rigs for a hobby), so for is the decision to go used is easy( for budgetary reasons as well).

We primarily dry camp(dirt biking, quad riding ect). So whatever we end up with will have to be outfitted with solar panels and possibly a wind generator( not sure on the later yet)

Me and my wife really only differ on one thing and that is slides- I don't want them as I feel the coaches are much sturdier without them, as well we have never had one In our previous rigs. I know it's a space sacrifice though we have never really used more than the front half of our toy hauler that was 40'. I don't think I mentioned we have 2 young boys as well 9/11.

One of the other thing we have figured out is a coach with a dual fuel refrig is a nessecity for us as electric only is a serious battery killer! One of our other requirements is a coach that can tow around 10k. One has to be able to haul the toys otherwise the coach has little purpose for us!

With these things in mind I really am trying to stay debt free and have the resources for up to around 50k, though am trying to stay In the 35-40 range to allow for upgrades or needed maint. I want a quality unit so have been looking at American eagle, Monaco crown royale executive, and holiday rambler navigator 400. With the later fitting the wife's interior wishes the best(this week anyways)!

The m-11 w/4000 series is the way I would prefer, though an 8.3cummins would also be doable. The 8.3 doesn't leave much room (as per trans ratings md3060) for power improvements if needed, though doubtful the m-11 would need any!


Thanks in advance for your thoughts, though I would greatly appreciate any thoughts or concerns that someone from the outside may have for me. If I left out anything feel free to ask and ill post again. I'm just looking for previous owners of the above mentioned coaches or anyone else's for that matter- thoughts that will lead me to a proper decision in hopefully our first and lawt coach for many serviceable years.

We will also be heading on a 3 week adventure in Alaska this summer!
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:30 PM   #2
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Sorry I don't have any experience with the units you are considering, but they are all quality coaches. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will chime in! Welcome to iRV2 and good luck with your search!
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:42 PM   #3
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I would consider slides and if it is a quality coach they will be fine. A little extra space is always good. I would also add Country Coach to your list. You will need 400 hp minimum for comfortable towing of 10k pounds.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:40 AM   #4
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The M11 is a good solid engine and it will be mated to the Allison M4000 transmission.

For that price range you will be in the mid to late 90's of a quality built coach. Something like a Monaco Signature or Executive will have the M11 up until around the 2000 year model which went to the ISM. I would also look at the Dynasty of the mid-late 90's as they are a very solid coach with capabilities to tow some serious weight but they will have the 8.3c engine in either the 300-350 hp range depending on years. After 2000 they went to the ISC and then around late 2001/early 2002 they stepped up to the 370 hp ISL and then in late 02 they went to the ISL in the 400 hp range. That may be a stretch to get into for the price range you are looking though.

Holiday Rambler Imperial or Navigator will be a good solid coach. I would also encourage you to look at some mid-late 90's Foretravels which will have the M11 in the 400-450 hp range along with the Allison M4000 with the exception that Foretravel installs transmission retarders on their units vs. exhaust brakes or compression brakes.

Safari would be another manufacturer to look at in that era as well.

A good quality coach will not be adversely affected by the installation of a slide as most of the manufacturers have done a very good job of compensating for the lack of wall support and strengthened up the structure overhead of the slide room.

Mike.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zmotorsports View Post
The M11 is a good solid engine and it will be mated to the Allison M4000 transmission.

For that price range you will be in the mid to late 90's of a quality built coach. Something like a Monaco Signature or Executive will have the M11 up until around the 2000 year model which went to the ISM. I would also look at the Dynasty of the mid-late 90's as they are a very solid coach with capabilities to tow some serious weight but they will have the 8.3c engine in either the 300-350 hp range depending on years. After 2000 they went to the ISC and then around late 2001/early 2002 they stepped up to the 370 hp ISL and then in late 02 they went to the ISL in the 400 hp range. That may be a stretch to get into for the price range you are looking though.

Holiday Rambler Imperial or Navigator will be a good solid coach. I would also encourage you to look at some mid-late 90's Foretravels which will have the M11 in the 400-450 hp range along with the Allison M4000 with the exception that Foretravel installs transmission retarders on their units vs. exhaust brakes or compression brakes.

Safari would be another manufacturer to look at in that era as well.

A good quality coach will not be adversely affected by the installation of a slide as most of the manufacturers have done a very good job of compensating for the lack of wall support and strengthened up the structure overhead of the slide room.

Mike.

Thanks for the info. Im pretty sure that an 8.3 coach will get the job done. and there is always a fuel plate and injectors that could put it north of 400, my only hesitation is that most of the md3060's are only rated at 300 as per the allison tech that shot me a printout.

Thus shifting my attention towards a m-11 machine. the 4000 series will take about anything that the m-11 could throw at it, even if I had it reflashed to 500hp. Not sure that it would be needed though. It would just be an option! I also like the real Jake that the m-11 is outfitted with, some true downhill whoa power. I had a Pete with a retarder, and while descent I was never impressed with a retarder after having another truck with a Jake. I havent ever had a rig with a Jake and an auto though
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:50 AM   #6
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I think your tranny guy may be wrong on the hp spec for the 3060. My 97 imperial came with the 8.3l "C" engine rated at 325 hp and the former owner had a 75hp Banks Kit installed. Trans worked great without a hiccup.
Steve
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sdscustomz View Post
Thanks for the info. Im pretty sure that an 8.3 coach will get the job done. and there is always a fuel plate and injectors that could put it north of 400, my only hesitation is that most of the md3060's are only rated at 300 as per the allison tech that shot me a printout.

Thus shifting my attention towards a m-11 machine. the 4000 series will take about anything that the m-11 could throw at it, even if I had it reflashed to 500hp. Not sure that it would be needed though. It would just be an option! I also like the real Jake that the m-11 is outfitted with, some true downhill whoa power. I had a Pete with a retarder, and while descent I was never impressed with a retarder after having another truck with a Jake. I havent ever had a rig with a Jake and an auto though
The transmission really doesn't care about HP, it is torque that will determine the size of transmission required. The MD3060 has a limit of 1250 ft./lbs. of torque as what it can handle. They are installing the MD3060 behind all ISL engines rated at anywhere from 370 hp (early versions) to 450 hp (later versions).

The only recommendation I would give when upgrading the 8.3c with a fuel plate for more power is to install a pyrometer and keep and eye on those exhaust temperatures as well as engine temps. If you really want to push it you may end up having to setup your radiator with a misting system or something similar to handle the extra heat. Radiator size is what will expel heat from the engine and the biggest issue you will have when upping the power levels it getting rid of the heat.

As far as "reflashing" the M-11 to get to 500 hp, that is not an option on that engine as it is a mechanically injected engine. The newer high pressure common rail engines, such as the ISC, ISL, ISM and ISX, are all computer controlled engines and can have some power added by software changes although there are limits there as well.

Adding fuel to a diesel engine makes power, however, there are limits as too much fuel and all you are doing is throwing money out the tailpipe (black smoke). The proper way to increase HP/torque is to add fuel mixed with the proper amount of air. This usually requires things like larger turbos, larger and better CAC's in addition to some software changes. This is simply not practical on most coaches due to fitment issues with things like radiators, CAC's, transmission coolers and everything else they cram in tight quarters.

If you are requiring large HP and Torque you are much better off purchasing the coach with the appropriate engine that you are trying to squeeze more power out of an engine that you don't think you will be happy with from the get go.

That said, most any coach/engine/transmission combo out there will tow/haul a pretty large load. It is merely what you can live with as far as performance on grades.

We started with a little 300HP CAT 3208 in out last coach and towed an 8500 pound trailer around most of the western U.S. for 7 years and 65k miles. It performed well for its engine size and the weight. Did we get passed on grades by other coaches? Hell yes. Did we get up the grades? Hell yes. Did we still enjoy the coach and create family memories along the way? Hell yes.

Mike.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:56 AM   #8
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Mike, thank you for taking the time to send your answer. I agree completely with everything you said. The pyrometer is a must. I found myself pulling grades based upon exhaust temp rather than rpm. I also had some overheating problems which I solved by changing the a/f to an OAT long life coolant. I also built a mister but never had to use it. Traded the imperial in on a Safari panther with a 525hp engine. Now I pull the hills with ease and can enjoy the ride.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:28 AM   #9
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I would have to agree with you guys on the motors and pyro's! A pyro in my mind is a must in any diesel, as it is your first defense against damaging your engine! Especially when "turning them up". I have and have had several5.9/8.3 mechanical and ISC motors in the past all with manuals though. I have zero experience with Allison's. The little knowledge that I have is what I got from calling the guys at Allison and what I've read on this glorious wealth of info on the Internet! So that's why I'm throwing out the questions, I like getting the feedback from those that have done it rather than those that think they know or should know!

The M-11 is also a new one to me haven't played with one of them yet and don't know that I would, well at least not much anyways. What I know about them is all from a close friend that has been a cummins tech for the past 18 years. So if I sound wrong its possible my info trail has been corrupted though he tells me that the m-11's power is controlled by the ECU even in 95'

I would have to agree that starting with a better platform than one thinks they need is always a much better approach, I'm a firm believer in bigger parts (in the motor/trans area) is always better for longevity.

I can tell you from several diesel projects this far that a lot of the deisels I've been around see great gains in drivability and mpg. From added power("black smoke). While I would agree that excess is still excess.

I hope more people like you guys post up I appreciate the info learned some more on the trans power that the Allison tech couldn't tell me! Knowing that it ran for 65k after doing so is also re-assuring
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